With a population of approximately 24.500, Argos is the largest city of the Argolida Prefecture, within a small distance from Nafplio and the ancient Tiryntha. A modern city, it is fast developing in many sectors, with a great commercial, industrial and agricultural activity.
How to get there
Argos is 120 km far from Athens. You may get there by car, taking the Athens-Corinth highway and then the Corinth-Tripoli highway, turning left to Argos after about 12 km. There are also frequent buses from Athens (KTEL tel. no: 220.127.116.118)
A glimpse of the past
With centuries of history behind it, it is one of the oldest cities in Greece. The first traces of population in the area are to be found by the end of the 3rd millennium BC. The legendary Egyptian hero Inachos was the founder and first king of the city. He introduced the art of vitrification, cloth making and agriculture. During his reign, Argos knew great prosperity and the inhabitants named Argos and the whole of Peloponnese “land of Inachos”. According to Homer’s epics, Diomedes represented the city in the Trojan War.
The fact that the Greeks are also reported as Achaeans (Αχαιοί) or Argeioi (Αργείοι) reveals the importance of the city in Greek traditions and myths. According to mythology, many kings of ancient Greece descend from the Argeioi (inhabitants of Argos). The city will have a dominant role in Peloponnese and Greece until the first half of the 7th century BC, when Athens and mainly Sparta will put its power in question. At that point, the regime of Argos is getting into a democratic path, which will be the cause of perpetual conflict with the oligarchic Sparta. After the first half of the 6th century BC, the Spartans will win the Argeioi twice and the city will start losing power. Argos is not taking part into the Persian wars, to avoid an alliance with Sparta. In 468 BC, Mycenae, Tiryntha and Nafplio become part of its domain. In the Peloponnesian war, Argos takes part as an ally of Athens. The king of Epirus, Pyrros (Pyrrhus), is known to have lost his life in a battle inside the city in 272 BC. In 146 BC Argos is conquered by the Romans, and flourishes again.
An important date is 1345 AD, the city being then conquered by the Venetians and a little later invaded by the Turks. Within the following years, the population of Argos diminishes and the city falls into oblivion. During the Greek War of Independence against Turkish dominion, the city becomes the centre of action. Argos, inflamed by Stamatelos Antonopoulos, raised the flag of Revolution on the 23rd of March 1821. Since then, Argos was in the heart of the Revolution, and suffered heavy blows. The preparations for the First National Assembly of the Greek revolutionists took place in the church of Ag. Ioannis, while the Fourth National Assembly took place in the Ancient Theatre of Argos in 1829. Towards the end of 19th century, Argos is gradually taking back its position as commercial, industrial and cultural centre of the region.
It’s a Must
Just about 5 km on the southwest of Argos is the village Kefalari, populated with 600 inhabitants or more. It is worth visiting, not only because of its traditional Greek atmosphere that captures the visitor’s eye, but also because of the two unique sights found there.
Panagia Kefalariotissa: This historic church of extreme beauty is situated on the east part of the village, at the foot of Mount Chaon, and most impressing, it was built inside a cave. It is dedicated to Panagia (Mother of God). It measured 16 m. of length, 6 m. of width and 4 m. of height. 9 out of the 16 metres of its length were inside the cave. The 50 m. long aisle of the temple, reaching the innermost depths of the cave and resembling a cathedral’s roof, shall impress even the most demanding of visitors. An adjacent cavity in the rock, where water springs, has been transformed into a chapel. At the mouth of the cave, a more contemporary temple has been built, a shrine for pilgrims, the temple of Zoodochos Pege (Life-giving Spring).
The Pyramid of the Hellenikon: About two kilometres away from Kefalari, we find the pyramid on top of a hill. According to research conducted by The Athens Academy, (The Athens Academy, after a research reached the conclusion) that the Pyramid of the Hellenikon was built about 4.000 years ago. Yet experts disagree on its use, whether it served as a grave or as an outpost (ancient fryktoria). Its purpose may never be discovered, thus rendering it into a unique place in Greece and an unsolved archaeological mystery. The Folk Art Museum in Kefalari, that collects, registers and documents objects concerning the folk culture of the region, is also a place of interest.
Every summer the famous Argos festival renders the city into the base of modern entertainment, with plenty of music nights organized in various spots of the city, with theatre shows for kids and grown-ups, and with exhibitions of painting, sculpture, photography and video. People of Argos always find ways to entertain with the Greek traditional way. During the Carnival season, Argos invites everyone to come and have a wild time out.
There’s a big religious festival in Argos on May 3rd, to honour the city’s patron saint Peter, and another one in Kefalari, in honour of Zoodochos Pege, on Good Friday.
End of February, the Argos Municipality organizes a three-day celebration dedicated to the orange-tree, known as “Orange-tree days”. This feast, besides its symbolic character and its entertaining purpose, also aims at promoting and making people aware of the specific product.
The Erasinos river flows through and irrigates the fertile plain of Argos, famous for its garden produce, orange trees, grapes, apricots and melons (local variety). Argos also produces wine of great quality.